DAMASCUS, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- "Intensive" Russian airstrikes on Saturday targeted several rebel-held areas in the northwestern province of Idilb, the last major rebel stronghold in Syria, a monitor group reported.
The airstrikes targeted the town of Latamneh in the northern countryside of Hama province near Idlib as well as the areas on the outskirts of Khan Sheikhun city in the countryside of Idilb, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Britain-based watchdog group said the Syrian artillery also targeted rebel-held areas in the southeastern countryside of Idlib.
The observatory said the chances of a wide-scale offensive by the Syrian army in Idlib increases every day, as the Syrian army is preparing for the offensive and the rebels are taking measures to confront the government forces' anticipated attack.
The Syrian government has been preparing for a military campaign to retrieve Idlib, in what is believed to be the last major battle in Syria.
Several rebel groups in Idlib are designated as terrorists, mainly the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, otherwise known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
A day earlier, the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey met in the Iranian capital Tehran to discuss the situation in Idlib.
However, the summit has failed to come to a tangible agreement on Idlib, given the fact that Turkey supports several rebel groups there and has observation points in Idlib.
Turkey wanted to establish a cease-fire while the Iranians and Russians, both main allies of Damascus, highlighted the need to "eliminate the terrorists in Idlib."
On the other hand, the United States and its Western allies have been warning of the repercussions of the possible assault on Idlib, saying it would lead to a humanitarian catastrophe as nearly 3 million people live there.
The Permanent Representative of Syria to the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari said during a UN session Friday that 400,000 terrorists are located in Idlib, stressing that it is the duty and right of the Syrian army to retake Idlib.